The ultimate paradise island of the Philippines, Boracay is one of the best and most sought after tourist destinations in the country. Whether on or off season, thousands of travellers – both foreigners and locals – visit this lively island resort. It’s easily accessible too as Boracay is only around 345 kilometres to the south of urban Manila with direct flights from the capital.
Being a major tourist draw card, the island is well known for its glistening White Beach and festive feel. Three lively seaside communities also await in the island – Yapak, Balabag, and Manoc-manoc. Forested and hilly areas also abound, while around the outskirts are charming beaches and amazing dive spots. Of course, there’s Boracay’s world-famous White Beach, which is a previous winner of the world’s best beach destination, even rivalling those around the Caribbean and Bali. Far from being a secluded island (although its location is pretty tucked away), you could expect all the conveniences of a major tourist island in Boracay.
Beachfront hotels, resorts and peaceful cabins are among your choices of accommodation while exploring the island. Dining is never a chore as there are numerous options especially in the White Beach area, plus shops and trinket stores. Those with a knack for watersports will not be disappointed as Boracay is one of the most popular locations for activities like wind surfing, sailing, diving, snorkelling and even jetskiing. Apart from the beautiful mornings, busy afternoons and inspiring sunsets, the nightlife is also as alive as it can be, with lines of bars and clubs featuring pulsating dance music.
There is more to Boracay than just white beaches and stunning sceneries. The island is home to a wide range of activities to keep your visit busy, from watersports to sailing opportunities, as well as shopping and taking trips through the villages and the hilly areas. More on Boracay activities.
Shopping: After a long day of lazing around on the beach, getting massages, watching events and sampling the watersports, you have one thing left to do — shop. You can buy from vendors selling their items along the beach almost everywhere you turn, but the best deals are often in the designated shopping areas right on White Beach. Boracay’s D’Mall and D’Talipapa should be your top go-to areas for absolutely anything you may need.
In these shopping centres, both higher-end and thrift stores abound. Everything from jewellery, clothes, handicrafts, artworks, sporting gears, and typical beach items are sold in both D’Mall and D’Talipapa. If you’re done sipping the fresh fruit shakes and soaking in the charms of White Beach, why not walk the aisles of these main shopping areas and haggle your way to great buys? M
Tours: Because cars and larger vehicles are not allowed in Boracay, hire a motorbike or a scooter in order to reach other hidden parts of the island. As mentioned before, there is more to Boracay than just the White Beach, so take a break from the bustles of the main drag and take a ride to other scenic places in the vicinity. Other beaches are waiting to be discovered, offering great snorkelling and other scenic wonders.
Watersports: Those who want a more active vacation will be pleased to find many options in the island, from snorkelling to boating, parasailing, kite boarding and even scuba diving. The island is surrounded by some 25 to 30 amazing dive sites, all within 10 to 15 minutes from the shores. Among the most famous spots are the Angol Point, Yapak and the Crocodile Island.
Boat tours: Hire an outrigger boat or a “paraw,” as it is locally called, and take a boat trip around the island. Great cruises to different hidden locations around the island are available through numerous operators and companies offering their services.
Massages: Aside from the numerous spas and resorts that dot the White Beach, many lady masseuses also sweep the beach front, offering relaxing rubs and treatments right on the sand. You can laze around admiring the scenic beauty of the beach while having all your aches magically healed.
Cave tours: The Bat Cave is also a popular destination in the island, visited by many tourists. You could hire a guide to take you to this hidden wonder or to the nearby Crystal Cave.
No paradise island is complete without restaurants and food stalls that offer succulent treats, catering both for local and international tastes. Boracay is home to numerous restaurants and eating joints as well as pastry shops and bakeries. Fresh and delectable local cuisine is offered by different dining places through White Beach, while cocktails, and juice bars are also easy to find. Most hotels also offer great cuisine. If you crave for fresh fish, D’Talipapa is your best bet where a wide range of seafood treats are offered fresh out of the sea.
Known as a party island, Boracay is also home to some of the liveliest bars and clubs that offer after-sunset entertainment. Music bars are a plenty, as well as cafes and nightclubs offering decent music, lively entertainment and pure fun. Live music, often performed by local bands, is offered in many restaurants and bars. Most nights, especially during special events, you can also see some fire dancers skillfully flinging flames around.
Getting to Boracay
There are two main gateways to Boracay, namely the Caticlan Airport and the Kalibo Airport. Scheduled trips to and from these major airports are available from Manila’s NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport). Flight time is approximately an hour while a ride to the wharf going to Boracay takes about five minutes from Caticlan Airport, and about 90 minutes from Kalibo Airport. Ferries are also available from Manila to Caticlan, while the RORO system also serves routes to Caticlan.